The attacks on free speech gain steam

As could be predicted, the violence resulting from the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims has resulted in calls for the limits to freedom of speech and laws for the protection of religious sensibilities. The president of Egypt Mohamed Morsi and the president of Yemen Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi both made speeches at the United Nations this week calling for such restrictions. [Read more…]

So how are the crankiest and the craziest doing?

The Republican party has become the home of such extreme people that even political leaders in other countries feel free to ignore the usual protocols and start piling on, with the Australian deputy prime minister Wayne Swan saying, “Let’s be blunt and acknowledge the biggest threat to the world’s biggest economy are the cranks and crazies that have taken over the Republican Party.” [Read more…]

What it means when jokes and satire are taken at face value

The political chattering class recently was agog about two incidents. One concerned Mitt Romney expressing concern that airplane windows could not be opened in the event that smoke filled the cabin, something that happened recently on a plane on which his wife Ann was traveling. People took this as yet another sign of a clueless candidate out of touch with reality. [Read more…]

A close look at the arguments against gay marriage

Last week, the Australian parliament took a step backwards by voting 98-42 to uphold the ban on same-sex marriages, despite opinion polls that favor allowing it. (On a more encouraging note, here are photos of a same sex marriage held at a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. It is not yet legal there, though legislation has been pending since 2003.) [Read more…]

Why is there something rather than nothing?

Religious people (at least the sophisticated ones) have abandoned trying to argue as evidence that god provides explanations for how things work. They have realized that this is a losing strategy as science has made god redundant as an explanation for anything, and that signs of god’s power seem to show a notable inverse correlation to the advance of science. [Read more…]

The piling on continues

Mitt Romney’s campaign has continued to be harshly attacked by other Republicans, with long time Republican operative Peggy Noonan is calling it a ‘rolling disaster’. In fact, his campaign is perceived as being so bad that within the space of less than six months, sentiment has shifted from the belief that the Republican nominee would win the presidency in a cake-walk, to wonderment that Romney is not winning, to how it is that Obama is not completely running away with the election. [Read more…]